Fluvanna plans for Halloween 2020

Madeline Otten

COVID-19 will not put a damper on Fluvanna County’s Halloween spirt this year. Lake Monticello is still on for Halloween and two Lake Monticello residents, Ashely Lucas and Gabe Anderson, are coordinating a “treat map” where other residents can add their location so trick-or-treaters know where to grab candy on Halloween night.

To add your address to the map, visit the “Lake Monticello Ripple” Facebook page for the active link. For those who do not have access to Facebook,  remember to turn on your front light to let trick-or-treaters know you are participating in handing out candy.

“We are urging families to make the best decisions for their families,” said Communications and Member Services Manger Gwen Antesberger. “We recently shared the Virginia Department of Health Guidelines for Halloween.”

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) released a statement on Sept.22, and acknowledged that this year’s Halloween will be different than years prior due to the pandemic. It also stated that “the best way to avoid becoming infected is to avoid being exposed to the virus altogether. This is particularly important for people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This may mean choosing not to participate in Halloween activities during the pandemic.”

For those still wanting to celebrate Halloween, but do not want to take risks going out, VDH suggests some low risk activities such as carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household, holding a virtual Halloween costume contest, having a Halloween movie night with the people in your household, and even having a Halloween scavenger hunt with your family  to enjoy in the safety of your home.

Moderate risk activities include participating in trick-or-treating with distancing strategies in place. For example, if households provide individually wrapped goodie bags, the bags could be linked up for trick-or-treaters to grab either at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard. If households decided to hand out individual bags, the VDH strongly suggest washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags. Other moderate risk activities are stopping at houses where individuals are wearing masks and maintaining a minimum of six feet distance from others, attending a small, outside event such as trunk-or-treat, where social distancing can be maintained and everyone is wearing a mask, and finally, visiting a pumpkin patch or orchard while wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

As for the highest risk activity, the VHD says, “events that involve large gatherings of individuals (e.g. large Halloween parties, haunted houses, etc.) can increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and are not recommended.” High risk activities include trick-or-treating to a large number of houses or visiting multiple neighborhoods where participants go door to door, trick-or-treating at houses where individuals are not wearing a mask and/or not maintaining six feet distance, attending crowded parties or events, going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household, and going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.

Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation (FCPR) will also be hosting its annual Halloween event on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 3 to 5 p.m.  Instead of the large festival event, FCPR is taking the event down a notch and hosting a Trunk or Treat drive thru. Attendees will drive thru the parking lot and have the option to pick up a bag of goodies for their child at a non-contact pickup station.

While COVID-19 is changing traditions this year, there are plenty of ways to still celebrate Halloween while maintaining safety guidelines.


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